In the current policy and planning debate, the city is schizophrenically interpreted at once as a competitive machine of growth and a cooperative social resource. This contradiction will be the starting point for a psycho-geographical drift into the urban identity of Belgrade aimed at retracing its nature as a common good and questioning how such a communal nature struggles with agonistic forces of exploitation, privatisation and control.
Among the themes investigated are:
• the relation centre-periphery and the specific relation between the historical city of Belgrade and the new settlement built to be the administrative capital of the dissolved Yugoslavia
• the fate of the wide extension of public spaces designed by the socialist planners after the shift toward capitalist economy and the processes of re-appropriation and contestation happening today
• the nature of the waterfront as a common resource for the citizen and how new exploitative urban development projects threat this public nature of the river today in Belgrade
• memory and cultural heritage as an intangible form of commons and their problematic management and preservation
The workshop will adopt the Urban Reconnaissance methodology (http://exercises.oginoknauss.org/) to disentangle the complexity of aspects and factors determining the present identity of Belgrade. Each participant will select a different definition of city among those suggested by the analytical device in order to assess the territory from a specific vantage point, and will identify one or more places that represent exemplar specificities, contradictions, conflicts related with that perspective. All these locations will be connected in a collectively elaborated spatial narrative, finally proposed as a guided tour open to the public.
Exercises in Urban Reconnaissance is a methodological toolbox for understanding the urbanization process form a holistic perspective. It has been developed by the ogino:knauss collective during twenty years of activity at the crossroad of urban research, artistic practice and political activism. Urban Reconnaissance merges a psycho-geographic approach with the attempt of developing critical analytical tools to disentangle urban complexities.
The workshop is structured four moments:
• In the first session the topic and the methodology of exploration will be discussed collectively. Each participant will select a specific exercise for the survey.
• The second session will be dedicated to individual or collective field survey. Each participant will employ their preferred tools to capture notes and ideas.
• The third session will be dedicated to confront findings and to wrap up a collective proposal for a guided tour. Each of the participants will suggest at least one destination of the tour and prepare a short intro.
• The final outcome of the workshop will be a city walk open to the public of the festival to discover Belgrade City of Commons.